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Ganniclifft/Gannicliffe: Joan Varey's Miscellaneous History Notes

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Many of the notes below were taken from a letter from (I assume) Peter Ganniclifft to Harry Gannicliffe (Gannicliffe-2) dated 11 May 1970 from 10, The Triangle, Clevedon, Somerset. Not too sure as to all the sources...

  • The Devon Subsidy Rolls

1524-7 John Ganniclyff's goods were assessed at £3


There is also a mention of a Richard Gannaclyff whose goods were assessed at £4

[possible father, not put on tree]

  • Visit to Malborough 14 June 1981:

1540 William G was a monastery almoner employed at Huish in Woodleigh (reign of Henry VIII - the dissolution of small monasteries began around 1536).

1554 24 May William Ganniclift presented clerk to the Perpetual Vicarage at West Alvington with Parishes at Malborough, South Huish and Milton.

1561 Bishop Alley's Report William Ganniclifft, Magister, Vicar of West Alvington, not a graduate, unmarried priest, does not preach, has another living...

So he carried on through the Reformation and the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth.

[NB not on tree - no connection at time of writing]

  • Devon Muster Rolls

1569 John and Michael Ganeclif were Archers in St Thomas Parish

[Ganniclifft-157 and -144]

  • Hookes's History

1588 ?? Ganniclifft holds a tenement in Exwick

  •  ??

1590 Edward G of Clyffe dies and leaves a will. He was a tenant in the St Thomas Parish.

[Here it is] [NB not on tree at time of writing - not sure who his father is]

  • Ganyclyffe, Edward

in the UK, Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975 Name: Ganyclyffe, Edward Dates: 1591 Place: Devonshire, England Book: Burials. (Burial) Collection: Devon and Cornwall: - Wills and Administrations proved in the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799 Volume: Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter. Chapter: 1591. Text: Ganyclyffe, Edward, - m.t. 1591

1600 Thomas G, a cordwainer or currier was made a Freeman of Exeter.


1634 Humphrey Gannicliffe of St Thomas left a will.

[Ganniclifft-152... Here it is]

  • Gannicliffe, Humphry

in the UK, Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975 Name: Gannicliffe, Humphry Dates: 1634 Place: St. Thomas Exeter, Devonshire, England Book: Burials. (Burial) Collection: Devon and Cornwall: - Wills and Administrations proved in the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799 Volume: Here begins the Alphabetical Calendar of Original Wills. Chapter: 1634. Text: Gannicliffe, Humphry, St. Thomas nigh Exeter W. 1634

  • Archdeaconry Court of Exeter

1640 The account of Peter Hamlyn, Guardian to the children of Nicholas Brimcliffe, alias Gannicliffe, viz John, Elizabeth and Mary. 1 Jan 1640

[This is Nicholas is Ganniclifft-130 who we have as having 10 children. Peter Hamlyn must be a relative of John's wife Marie. Her father was we believe a John, so... perhaps a brother or uncle. As will be seen, John was a major influence in the Quakers.]

  • Devon Protestation Returns (Reign of Charles I)

1641 There was unrest in 1641 during the passage of the Bill of Attainder [allowing people to be punished without trial] against the Earl of Strafford. He was thought to be plotting the overthrow of the English Government with an Irish Army. He was against Parliamentary government and was executed. Following this, all men had to sign a protestation vowing to uphold the Protestant Church against all Popery, and in St Leonard's Parish John Ganniclifft and Richard Ganniclifft signed it. (The St Thomas returns are missing.)

[Ganniclifft-53 and -54?]

  • Other sources?

1656 (October) Nicholas G (see note on 1640 above) who belonged to the Quaker Branch was taken on his way to visit Fox at Launceston. He was imprisoned in Exeter Jail. Earlier in the year Nicholas G brought James Nayler from Bristol (Sidcot) to Exeter.

This was during the Commonwealth (1649-1660). Oliver Cromwell allowed people a certain amount of political freedom, but freedom of conscience did not extend to Roman Catholics or Quakers, hundreds of whom he threw into prison. This was due less to religious prejudice than to fear of civil disruption, as he opened the gates of England to the Jews, which had been closed to them 400 years before by Edward I.

1657 Fox stays with John G when the first meeting of Quakers in Devon and Cornwall takes place at the Seven Stars Inn, near Exe Bridge, Exeter.


  • Friends' Quarterly Journal pp 101-102 19 Feb 1986

Ann Gannicliffe from the Thimbeck Manuscript...


1655 Ann had accompanied Sarah Goldsmith on her peregrination through Bristol "clad in a garment of sackcloth, reaching to the ground, with her head uncovered and and earth or ashes laid thereon, and her hair hanging down about her... as a sign against Pride." Both women were committed to the Bridewell.

Tony Varey (Varey-8) in 2017 adds another source for the 1655 peregrination:

  • Women's Worlds in Seventeenth-Century England: A Sourcebook

edited by Patricia Crawford. Laura Gowing

POLITICS AND PROTESTS 9.13 Going naked for a sign: Sarah Goldsmith, 1655, and Katherine Hearne, 1666

In the 1650s, Quakers were spreading their message all over England. Quaker women engaged in a number of dramatic public actions which were highly effective in publishing the truths they sought to witness, including 'going naked for a sign'. To go naked was not the modern equivalent of ‘streaking’. Goldsmith undid her hair and wore it uncovered, and was dressed in a coat of sackcloth and shoes. Even so, her action so outraged contemporary views of female modesty that she attracted a crowd. Later Quakers regarded ‘going naked for a sign’ as immodest and denied that it ever occurred... To the Quakers, the form of government - Protectorate in 1655 or monarchy in 1666 - made little difference; their task was to bear witness to the Lord.

Abstract of the Sufferings, Friends House copy, vol. 1, p. 15; The Great Book of Sufferings (MS). Friends House Library, London, i. 548.

On the 3d of the 3d month [May], 1635, Sarah Goldsmith, being moved to put on a coat of sackcloth of hair next her, to uncover her head, and put earth thereon, with her hair hanging down about her, and without any other clothes upon her, excepting shoes on her feet, and in that manner to go to every gate, and through every street within the walls of the city, and afterward to stand at the High-Cross in the view of the town and market, as a sign against the pride of Bristol, and to abide so in that habit seven days, in obedience thereto, though in great self-denial, and in a cross to her natural inclinations, she cheerfully prepar’d her garment, being long and reaching to the ground; and on the 5th of the 3rd month early in the morning, two friends accompanying her, passed through the streets to the several gates, some people following them, but doing no harm: then she return’d home: and about the ninth hour came to the High-Cross, and one friend with her, a great multitude of people following; there she stood about half an hour, till the tumult grew so violent, that some bystanders, in compassion, forced them into a shop, out of which the multitude call’d to have them thrown, that they might abuse them; but by the intervention of the chamberlain kept out of their hands, and carried to the Tolzey. The Mayor came thither, and ask’d her, why she appear’d in the city in that habit? She answered, in obedience to the light in my conscience. What if you, said the Mayor, in your obedience had been kill’d by the rude multitude? She replied, I am in the hands of Him that ruleth all things. 1 have harm’d none, yet have I been harm’d; neither have I broken any law by which 1 can be brought under just censure; if I had appeared in gay clothing you would [not?] have been troubled. In conclusion, the Mayor, at the instigation of Joseph Jackson one of the aldermen sent her to Bridewell, and with her Anne Gunnicliffe and Margaret Wood, for owning and accompanying her. [p. 256]

  • Mention of Nicholas Ganniclifft (from Bristol Manuscript):

1656 (30 June) Camsgill [Cumbria] John Camm to D. Hollister and others

Reports a safe return home though in much weakness. Not been out of the house since arrival, but has had meetings at home. Sends messages of love from self, wife and little Thomas to... and Nicholas Ganniclifft and wife.

  • Certificate of Marriage of George Fox and Margaret Fell.

1669 Ann was a signatory to the marriage. [Unfortunately not all the signatures appeared on the scanned document accompanying the on-line marriage record. At the bottom of the sheet it just says "... and many more."]

  • Bristol, Burial Registers

1673 Ann Ganniclifft (Gunnicliffe) is described as "An antient friend".

  • Sources?

1692 John G published "The Sauciness of a Seducer" in collaboration with George Trosse.

John G and Joseph Nott, Quakers of Exeter, published Gospel truths Asserted in Answer to Joseph Hallett's 27 Queries. Printed and sold by T. Sowle at the Crooked Billet in Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, London.

Tony Varey-8 adds in 2017:

  • University of Michigan

The sauciness of a seducer rebuked, or, The pride and folly of an ignorant scribbler made manifest in some remarks upon a scurrilous libel written by Joseph Nott ... against a book of the Reverend Mr. George Tross in vindication of the Lord's Day : together with a confutation of some errors of the Quakers, in a book call'd ... Gospel-truths scripturally asserted, written by John Gannacliff and Joseph Nott. Trosse, George, 1631-1713. London: Printed for J. Salisbury ... 1693.

Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan, Digital Library Production Service 2012 November (TCP phase 2)

  • Source?

1701 John G, a cordwainer, of St Thomas Parish, leader of the Society of Friends in Exeter, dies,aged 80. For nearly 50 years he was a faithful member and is the outstanding figure of the early days. His children did not retain their membership of the Society. [This is Ganniclifft-134]

1719 John G of St Thomas Parish is the schoolmaster.

[This must be Ganniclifft-117]

  • St Thomas Parish Papers - Overseers Accounts - Poor Surcharge Book 1734-38

1738 5 July Thos. Gannicliff was on the Parish Council. "His signature is on the accounts - not illiterate or anything like" (see scanned image - Joan Varey History Notes) Also 4 August 1748, and 1753 and 1754...

[Must be Ganniclifft-120]

1771 Thomas Gannicliff of Stoke Demerel, left a will.

[Here it is] NB not on tree at time of writing - no connection established]

  • Gannacliff, Tho.

in the UK, Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975 Name: Gannacliff, Tho. Dates: 1771 Place: Stoke Damerell, Devonshire, England Book: Burials. (Burial) Collection: Devon and Cornwall: - Wills and Administrations proved in the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799 Volume: Here begins the Alphabetical Calendar of Original Wills. Chapter: 1771. Text: Gannacliff, Tho., Stoke Damerell W. 1771

1780 William G comes into possession of a lease of Lucking Mills near and below Cricklepit Mills in St Mary's Parish (£600 lease of 70 years).


1802 Robert G admitted Freeman of the City of Exeter. Fuller and Parish Clerk, Improvement Place, City Road, Shilhay [Exeter]


  • Census for the Napoleonic Wars, St Mary Steps Parish

1803 William G aged 67, very infirm, owns one bullock. Mary, his wife, 70. Robert, his son, a Fuller, is a volunteer. His wife is named Grace, and there are 4 children: Robert, Elizabeth, Henry and George.

1806 William G dies. Abstract of title of the Mills passed to Robert G.

  • Apprentices with their Masters

1810 Apprentice: Robert Saunders Ganniclifft [Ganniclifft-1] Master: Robert Ganniclifft

Tucker's Hall, Exeter, by Joyce Youens

Varey-8 adds: Tuckers Hall, Exeter: The History of a Provincial City Company Through Five Centuries (South-West Studies) Hardcover – 1 Jun 1968 by Joyce Youings (Author)

1825 William G is a Fuller in Frog Lane, Exeter.


1826 4 November Robert Saunders Ganniclifft admitted to the freedom of the Company of Weavers, Tuckers and Shearmen

1850 Robert Saunders Ganniclifft applied for post of Beadle.


1859 Robert Pinkham Ganniclifft applied as Freeman

His Master, a Tailor, died before he could complete his apprenticeship and subsequently he joined the Royal Navy.

[And here is his record reference with a scanned copy of the manuscript on his person profile page]

  • Robert Gameclift

in the UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919 Name: Robert Gameclift Birth Date: abt 1825 Gender: Male Age at Start of Service: 16 First Service Date: 11 Nov 1841 First Ship Served On: Belleisle Last Service Date: 17 Oct 1854 Last Ship Served On: Resolute Record Type: Entry Books of Certificates Date Range: 1858 Jun - Jul


1885 Emma Evans, widow, applied for a gratuity from the Freemen's Charitable Trust, being the eldest unmarried daughter of Robert Sa(u)nders Ganniclifft, the company's Beadle from 1850 until his death in 1878. "The Ganniclefts had been fullers in Exeter for many generations." When Emma died she was succeeded by her spinster sister Laura Ford Gannicleft aged 45 who enjoyed the gratuities till her death in 1898.

[Ganniclifft-6 and Ganniclifft-8]

  • The Benn Diaries by Tony Benn

Tuesday 27 June [1944] We did PT this morning and the first lecture was meteorology. Gannicliffe brought the mail in and there was a telegram for me. I don’t like telegrams as a rule so I didn’t open it immediately, and when I did it was quite unhurried....

Tony Varey writes in 2014:

We never found out who this Gannicliffe was, so... I looked in Tony Benn's diary and it seemed that he was in Africa as a trainee pilot or some such. So Googles "Gannicliffe Rhodesia" and up popped this news article (www.thislocallondon.co.uk)

A world war enthusiast who is putting together the life story of a Sanderstead soldier is appealing for members of his family to come forward. Ian Miller is writing about Walter Hook’s experiences as a sergeant in Africa during World War II...

In a glowing reference from a Major Gannicliffe, Sgt Hook is described as “willing and painstaking at all times and carried out deputy duties in the absence of more senior officers”. He died in 1995 at the age of 81.

And all I have from an Ancestry search are references to Albert Leslie Ganniclifft (1894- ), Ganniclifft-164 on Wikitree. Could it be him? Looks a bit doubtful... it is Gannicliffe with an e....

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